In pre-war Italy, a young couple have a baby boy. The father, however, is jealous of his son - and the scene moves to antiquity, where the baby is taken into the desert to be killed. He is ... See full summary »
Mamma Roma is a middle-aged whore of Roma. Now she can quit her job to become a fruit seller. And she can take back her 16-year-old son, Ettore. For him, she dreams of a good position. But ... See full summary »
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Paul Javal is a writer who is hired to make a script for a new movie about Ulysses more commercial, which is to be directed by Fritz Lang and produced by Jeremy Prokosch. But because he let... See full summary »
To win the kingdom his uncle took from his father, Jason must steal the golden fleece from the land of barbarians, where Medea is royalty and a powerful sorceress, where human sacrifice ... See full summary »
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Cold, rain, and fog surround a plant in Ravenna. Factory waste pollutes local lakes; hulking anonymous ships pass or dock and raise quarantine flags. Guiliana, a housewife married to the ... See full summary »
Umberto Ferrari, aged government-pensioner, attends a street demonstration held by his fellow pensioners. The police dispense the crowd and Umberto returns to his cheap furnished room which... See full summary »
Vittorio De Sica
Maria Pia Casilio,
Petra von Kant is a successful fashion designer -- arrogant, caustic, and self-satisfied. She mistreats Marlene (her secretary, maid, and co-designer). Enter Karin, a 23-year-old beauty who... See full summary »
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Pasolini's first film is a painfully realistic study of a pimp in Rome. Vittorio Accattone has never worked a day in his life, and has apparently made a good living prostituting his female companion, Maddalena. But her arrest begins his decline; hungry, he begs from churches and even visits his estranged wife and son. When Stella, a lovely and unbelievably innocent peasant worker, enters his life, Accattone tries to find a way, honest or not, to bring back good fortune... Written by
Gary Dickerson <email@example.com>
Accattone is a Roman pimp who lives off his girlfriend Maddalena's earnings. Pasolini's cheeky aim is to put forward this young man as a modern saint. To this end he lathers Bach's St Matthew's Passion (inspired by the Apostle's experience of the crucifixion of Christ) over scenes of Accattone's life. Indeed in one of Accattone's first scenes he's shown devouring a slice of tomato, displayed horizontally as if a cardinal's galero, whilst an sculpture of perhaps a guardian angel can be seen over his shoulder in the distance (an anti-clerical pro-Christ stance seems to be a consistent theme for Pasolini). Later, a prophecy regarding Accattone's descent is eerily similar to Christ's pronunciation of Peter's forthcoming triple renunciation.
The film reminded me of a DH Lawrence poem (elliptically titled Democracy):
"I love the sun in any man / when I see it between his brows / clear, and fearless, even if tiny // But when I see these grey successful men / so hideous and corpse-like, utterly sunless, / like gross successful slaves mechanically waddling / then I am more than radical, I want to work a guillotine
I feel that when people have gone utterly sunless / they shouldn't exist."
Whatever Accattone is, he's not sunless; when he tries out the world of work (legitimate work involving labour), he becomes Vittorio, his Christian name, and the light goes out. The film reminds me very much of Fassbinder's Gods of the Plague in that sense, young men with brio but no skills or education who, given the choice, between drudgery or crime, choose crime. Both films polemicise against urban post-industrial capitalist societies, which have become increasingly removed from the milieu in which humanity evolved and is "designed" to cope with. When Accattone compares the chore of lifting rolls of iron with the horrors of Buchenwald the film goes a little over the top.
Of course someone viewing Accattone and his friends through less of a haze of desire than the director might think that they were just a bunch of jerks. Undeniably though, Pasolini is a great poet, and there's evidence of things to come here, the film whilst looking largely Bertoluccian (he was the assistant director), has the occasional master shot, for example the rolling hills and valley in the dream sequence, par with Leonardo in quality of composition and symbolism; the countryside here representing an idealised rural precursor to Accattone's slum existence.
I also applaud Pasolini for taking his arguments beyond class, Accattone's group of spongers contains educated men as well as dunces, and they are equally disdainful of the ruling class as they are of proletarians.
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